Every project starts as an idea and must pass through developmental stages. In fact, this is true for more than just projects. This is true for people, relationship, experiences and even memories.
The infancy stage comes first, ending with the completion stage. A lot is happening in between, however. Knowing what stage YOU are currently in could be the difference between project failure or success.
Taking action on organized knowledge is the single best way to create success in life. If you know where you are, in relation to where you want to be, you have the best chance of getting there. You begin with a confidence others lack.
Take driving, for example. Maps are an extrememly helpful way of getting to your destination quickly and safely. The organization of streets, locations, landmarks, longitude, latitude into knowledge we call a “map” saves us many hours of frustration getting to Grandma’s for the holiday.
Our projects (writing, business, and even emotional) have stages we travel through to reach our destinations. If you’re unaware of where you are, in relation to where you want to be, you may feel frustrated, lost or anxious, giving up too soon.
“Power grows out of ORGANIZED KNOWLEDGE, but, mind you it “grows out of it” through application and use!”
~Napoleon Hill, THE LAW OF SUCCESS
So true, Mr. Hill. So true!
In my own experience, and in talking with others, I’ve uncovered 7 distinct stages we go through as our projects develop and grow. When I was unaware of these stages, I often became frustrated thinking I wasn’t making any progress. I felt lost not knowing where I was in relation to where I wanted to be.
Since I didn’t have a “stages of project development” map to consult for many years (I certainly didn’t learn the formula for financial, emotional and physical success in school), I often considered giving up on my projects. Having a “lighthouse” to guide you, is incredibly helpful in goal achievement. Project failure rates can be dramatically decreased by this organized “stage of project development” knowledge. These stages of project development were my lighthouse as I developed my most recent on-line program.
So let’s get right to it. Here are the 7 stages of project growth.
Can you identify where you are … in relation to any of the projects you’re currently working on?
1) Preparation stage: partially conscious, partically instinctive. Ideas drift in and out of our minds. We pay some attention to them. At some point, we take action on thes ones that feel the best to us in the moment or the ones repeatedly poking at us. We research, read, search for and find role models and mentors. Some people spend far too much time in this stage, others not enough.
2) Germination stage: gathering idea fragments. Sometimes we know what we’re doing, sometimes we don’t. We begin to see the potential in the ideas that bring us the most excitment.
3) Working stage: begin in earnest, build and elaborate project(s). At times, we can see the bigger picture, the end result. Other times, not so much. Both are legitmate and viable ways. In this stage, we follow our instinct. We can occassionally (mistakenly) assume we are finished after this stage.
4) Deepening stage: revisit, rethink, revise, expanding our vision and idea. This can be where we learn what the proect is really about … even if we’ve been working on it for months or years.
5) Shaping stage: Finding the works order and true form. Discovering the “shape” and “texture” of your project is truly exciting. What was before unruly or asymetrical, is now taking a new, more predictable, detectable form.
6) Completion stage: Again, revisit, rethink, revise, further expanding the vision and idea. This stage contains great opportunity to identify more easily, whether an element belongs or doesn’t, whether a solution ir working or not. Often the natural motivation and inspiration to finish the work takes precedence over other needs and obligations—eating, sleeping, showering or being social. We get our “second wind” during this stage.
7) Going public stage: making ourselves and our work ready for publication. This, for many, is the most stressful stage as we expose ourselves, and our work, to the world. When you get to this stage, it’s cricital you continue to move through the fears and doubts sharing your work with the intended audience.
Which stage are you in today?
I’ll be honest with you. I was compeletely unawares of this particular organized knowledge called “stages of project development” for most of my life. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered these evolutionary stages as I reflected back on my on-line course creation process. I organically progressed through each of these stages feeling most satisfied when I comleted stage 7.
Lately, now that I’m aware of this formula, I have much more patience for the intimate unfolding of the necessary stages of project creation. More patience, more joy, more focus.
I know where I am; I know where I want to be. I am happy in the journey not stressed about “just reaching the goal”.
Let me know what you think? I hope you find renewed vigor in this powerful organized knowledge!